Phoebastria immutabilis breeds at 16 sites (nine with populations of greater than 100 pairs), mostly in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (USA) and US Minor Outlying Islands, with additional small colonies in Japan and Mexico. The population is estimated to be c.590,926 breeding pairs, with the largest colony at Midway Atoll, followed by Laysan Island, both in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands18. Population sizes at monitored colonies increased between 1980 and 1995 but have never reached the densities observed prior to large-scale harvests for feathers in the early 1900s. Data indicated a 32% decline during 1992-2002 (3.2% per annum) of birds breeding on the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, where 99% of the global population is found5,9, though data from 2004 and 2006 indicate that the breeding population then rebounded, and that the overall population trend for 1992-2005 is stable18. A population began nesting in Mexico in the 1980s and has been increasing since then. The current population is about 400 pairs at four sites, though this represents less than 0.1% of the global population18. Breeding populations were extirpated from Wake and Johnston atolls (USA) and Minami Torishima (Japan) in the central Pacific. Ship-based observations, satellite tracking and fisheries bycatch reveal the wide distribution of Laysan Albatross in the North Pacific, ranging from the Bering Sea to tropical waters in the South (15-20 degrees North) 19, 21, 23.
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